Are you in a clan? Every group has a leader, and a RuneScape clan is no exception. Good leaders can run everything smoothly and make it look effortless, and bad ones can make themselves look completely incompetent. Maybe you are or have been one yourself. But especially for us who have neither been a leader nor plan on being one, there remain unspoken guidelines that we ought to know. I mean neither praise nor criticism for the leaders, but I have tried to gather and present ten simple ideas here.
1. If I'm a decent leader, I think about ranking/kicking more than you will ever know. With one click of the "Save" button and a wait spanning a mere three-fifths of a second, I can change the rank of virtually anyone in the clan. Expulsion, in the form of a kick, falls in the same vein: all that's needed is a quick confirm. It might be tempting to conclude, hastily and sloppily, that these are split-second decisions. It is not: there is a sophisticated thought process that involves suppressing your emotions and sorting out those of others that recommend people. Let me assure you that if such decisions were made on split-second notice, I would not have anyone to lead for much longer.
2. I have to view each clanmate as one person: not more, not less. No matter how fantastic, splendiferous, or energetic you are, there's only so much you can do. Don't be offended if I say we need (in general) better people. There is an upper bound on what you can do. Even if you recruit a hundred people, unless those people make an individual effort on their own to integrate into the clan and make it theirs. If none of us had that drive, it wouldn't matter how many people were recruited.
3. Leaving a clan doesn't have to mean leaving our friendship. If you are kicked from our clan, I am likely hoping not to hear from you again, but if you decide to leave on your own it may be quite a different story. You will feel more awkward about talking to me than I will. I understand that you may have wanted to move on to another clan (or maybe feel guilty about disappearing from the list in the middle of the night), and really, it's OK. We can still be friends so there's no need to avoid talking to me.
4. Don't ask for a lot of my time or attention if you don't need it. It becomes irritating when everyone wants your full attention for every little thing, especially when I have things to do too. If it's a quick question about what level you need to wear a certain armor, that's one thing. But at some point you need to show some independence. With the recent achievement of 200 million accounts, almost everything is public knowledge. You don't need me to come to Draynor and show you how to poison the fish food for the Ernest the Chicken quest. You should be able to find Clan Camp yourself. Of course I will help, and not say anything to you about it, but it is a bit of a waste of time when there are literally hundreds of people who have already written out full guides complete with pictures. Similarly, know that I can multitask: I can handle PM's, clan chat, IM's on another site, and non-click-intensive training simultaneously.
5. I have seen it before. Just give me some time. Find out how long I've been leading a clan. If it's been a long time, when some clan issue arises, I probably know how to deal with it. I have to be the diplomat; I'm a role model. The instinctive reaction to have a tirade and dropkick them out is one that must be suppressed. It takes a little time to talk to people and make sure the story adds up, but it will be resolved. Try to not get into it in clan chat and talk to me privately instead. And if I just started yesterday, I may need to learn a few things the more difficult way a few times.
6. I probably won't ask you more than once to join. The last thing I would want is for people to think I'm bullying or harassing them into joining, so this especially true if we're good friends. I might drop a few hints, and ask you to join once, but if you say no I will stop asking. If you said no once but have changed your mind, you should ask me to invite you.
7. It might be a good idea to ask for a rank. Any leader will tell you it's annoying when people ask for a rank. The more complete truth is that people do not know how or when to ask. If it's an empirical requirement (such as: get 1500 total level for a General rank), then do not ask. There's not going to be an exception and you'll look like an idiot that can't read. So don't do it! On the other hand, if it's more of a subjective system, for instance one based on activity level, there is a little more leeway. Befriending people higher up and talking privately with them helps, not because it propels my ego, but because it shows who you really are. Keep in mind that not everyone will be comfortable in a leadership position, even if you think you might be, and it's my job to recognize it. Simply never increasing someone's rank is far easier than being required to take it away. Give it some time (yes, it can be hard to wait a few months) and don't beg, but at some point mention it. But above all, never ever ask for a rank in the clan chat. It will only make it more difficult for me to justify it, because I know future people will be more likely to ask.
8. My real life is probably different from the average RuneScaper. Let's own up to the fact that when we see someone who plays many hours a day, the unflattering portrait we paint of them is that of a lonely no-lifer kid or adult living in their parents' basement. It may or may not be true in general, but it's not for me. I'm probably not a D student or a loner. I have probably held some leadership experience. It would not be unlikely for me to have held a summer job. Half my play time might be spent in the lobby to help monitor the chat and see how people are doing, for the benefit of the clan, not because I have nothing better to do.
9. I need you at events, but I need you more at empty events. If I hold an event with fifty people, and thank you for coming or ask later why you weren't there, that's a very good sign. It means that I'm concerned if something came up, or more likely taking attendance to be fair to people. However, for all practical purposes, the increase of forty-nine to fifty people is negligible. It's not physically possible for me (or anyone really) to be talking with all those people at once. On the other hand, if it's two other people and me going Dungeoneering, it will most definitely be noticed. From a friendship point of view (ranking as well, if I'm that disorganized), this is where you can make a much greater difference by attending.
10. I am human too. It's easy to assume that the leader should be perfect, and something beyond human. But remember, just because I am in charge doesn't mean I'm perfect-because I'm not and no one is. I can and will make a mistake once in a while. Let it go.
Like almost everything, there will be exceptions to the above points, but the hope is that we can all understand each other a little better. After all, that's never a bad thing.